Chapter Four IDEALS OF LIFE
I. CHINESE HUMANISM
TO understand the Chinese ideal of life one must try to understand Chinese humanism. The term "humanism55 is ambiguous. Chinese humanism, however, has a very definite meaning* It implies, first a just conception of the ends of human life; secondly, a complete devotion to these ends; and thirdly, the attainment of these ends by the spirit of human reasonableness or the Doctrine of the Golden Mean, which may also be called the Religion of Common Sense.
The question of the meaning of life has perplexed Western philosophers, and it has never been solved—naturally, when one starts out from the teleological point of view, according to which all things, including mosquitoes and typhoid germs, are created for the good of this cocksure humanity. As there is usually too much pain and misery in this life to allow a perfect answer to satisfy man's pride, teleology is therefore carried over to the next life, and this earthly life is then looked upon as a preparation for the life hereafter, in conformity with the logic of Socrates, which looked upon a ferocious wife as a natural provision for the training of the husband's character. This way of dodging the horns of the dilemma sometimes gives peace of mind for a moment, but then the eternal question, "What is the meaning of life?" comes back. Others, like Nietzsche, take the bull by the horns, and refuse to assume that life wist have a meaning and believe that progress is in a circle, and human achievements are a savage dance, instead of a trip to the market. But still the question comes back eternally, like the sea-waves lapping upon the shore: "What is the meaning of life?"
The Chinese humanists believe they have found the true